Page:Koran - Rodwell - 2nd ed.djvu/28

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The Koran


ology, especially in the histories common to the Scriptures and to the Koran, bore any similarity to each other, and if the orthography of the proper names had been the same in each, it might have been fair to suppose that such versions had been made, more or less, upon the basis of others, which, though now lost, existed in the ages prior to Muhammad, and influenced, if they did not directly form, his sources of information. But[1] this does not appear to be the case. The phraseology of our existing versions is not that of the Koran—and these versions appear to have been made from the Septuagint, the Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and Greek; the four Gospels, says Tischendorf[2] originem mixtam habere videntur.

From the Arab Jews, Muhammad would be enabled to derive an abundant, though most distorted, knowledge of the Scripture histories. The secrecy in which he received his instructions from them, and from his Christian informants, enabled him boldly to declare to the ignorant pagan Meccans that God had revealed those Biblical histories to him. But there can be no doubt, from the constant identity between the Talmudic perversions of Scripture histories and Rabbinic moral precepts, that the Rabbins of the Hejaz communicated their legends to Muhammad. And it should be remembered that the Talmud was completed a century previous to the era of Muhammad,[3] and cannot fail to have extensively influenced the religious creed of all the Jews of the Arabian peninsula. In one passage,[4] Muhammad speaks of an individual Jew—perhaps some one of note among his professed followers, as a witness to his mission; and there can be no doubt that his relations with the Jews were, at one time, those of friendship and intimacy, when we find him speak of their recognising him as they do their own children, and hear him blaming their most colloquial expressions.[5] It is impossible, however, for us at this distance of time to penetrate the mystery in which this subject is involved. Yet certain it is, that, although their testimony against Muhammad was speedily silenced, the Koreisch knew enough of his private history to disbelieve and to disprove his pretensions of being the recipient of a divine revelation, and that they accused him of writing from

  1. See Walton's Prol. ad Polygl. Lond. xiv.
  2. Prol. in N.T. p. lxxviii.
  3. The date of the Bab. Gemara is A.D. 530; of the Jerusalem Gemara, A.D. 430; of the Mischna A.D. 220; See Gfrörer's Jahrhundert des Heils, pp. 11–44.
  4. Sura xlvi. 10, p. 314.
  5. Sura vi. 20, p. 318. Sura ii. 13 (p. 339), verse 98, etc.